In praise of Bobby Ryan

In praise of Bobby Ryan
"The biggest thing is just his poise and his hands are unbelievable. I played with [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby, and those guys are probably the two best in the league. Bobby's hands are right with those guys... He's a superstar in the making, it seems."
---Ryan Whitney, former Ducks defenseman

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ducks at Buffalo, vs Sabres

I'm listening to this one at work, trying to lay low so management doesn't can me. But see, it's airing only on Versus, so I can't even record the game to watch it later with my lame Cable subscription. Boo. So all I can do is quick one-liners as I listen at work, and maybe add a little more color after I've watched the highlight reel.

I considered just letting this game go, catching the final score after work. But no. All of our Ducks' games from here on out are important ones. Wins and losses will move teams in and out of playoff contention on a daily basis. Each game counts. And, as the Ducks might actually have a good shot at winning this one (I'm basing my assumption on the fact that the Sabres will be without both Ryan Miller, goaltender extraordinaire, and goal-scorer Thomas Vaneck), I want to hear my boys as they make victory theirs.

So here we go...

Right as I'm getting the first bytes of the streaming feed, I hear Teemu Selanne has put the first goal already in net! YAY!!!

Sheldon Brookbank gets into a fight behind the net, five for fighting for both Duck and Sabre players. Still 5-5 on the ice.

Sounds like a physical game already, lots of hits, lots of scrums. J.S. Giguere is in net again, for the third time out of three games on this road trip. I'm happy to hear he's making some great saves. Should I say it? Perhaps we've seen the last of his slump?

And then, Montador gets a two-minute minor for hooking and the Sabres erase the Duck's lead on the resulting power play.

Mike Brown gets into a tussle with a Sabre... what was I saying about physical?

Apparently, Sabres are giving up a lot of pucks in their own zone to Duck turnovers. I like the sound of that!

As the period ends, players get in each others' faces to start a fight, but they grind their teeth and separate.

The second period has started already, but I at least get to listen in peace for 30 minutes during my lunch break. At almost halfway through the game, there's a power play opportunity for Anaheim. Numerous shots on the Sabre net are made, but nothing goes in. The Sabres also steal a breakaway, but they can't get it past Giggy.

And then Anaheim goes into penalty kill mode for a two-minute interference penalty against Bobby Ryan for falling on Sabre's netminder Patrick Lalime. Shorthanded, the Ducks manage a miracle: Todd Marchant gets a puck into the net, his first goal in what, 43 games??

Guess he decided to show off for his friends and family in the audience.

There's a crazy blocked shot that gets the commentators buzzing: a carem off the top of Steve Montador's headgear.

I'm happy to hear that Randy Carlyle has decided to keep my favorite second line intact: Teemu is still skating with my boy Bobby and Andrew Ebbett. See, I told you those three work well together.

Anaheim gets another power play opportunity with about six minutes left in the second period. Even with Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Teemu, the Captain, and Chris Pronger on the ice, our Ducks can't get one past Lalime. I have to admit, the Sabre netminder isn't doing too bad for a guy who doesn't start in net very often. He makes a lot of saves and gives up very few rebounds.

Then, after the power play expired, Mike Brown scores unassisted on a wild wraparound. It's in so quick that I'm laughing while watching the highlight. All of the Sabres on the ice, including Lalime, are just frozen after that goal is scored, as if to say, "What just happened? You gotta be fuckin' kidding me!"

It's Brown's second point this season, his first as a Duck, and also his first goal as a Duck. The guy was traded in because Anaheim wanted a physical player. A hitter. Apparently, the hitter can score too.

The period ends with the Ducks leading, 3-1.

The game continues into the third period with the Sabres' play sounding a bit disgruntled. At one enegetic moment, Derek Roy gets a point-blank scoring chance, but hits pipe. You can hear the fans groaning in disappointment.

Our Ducks are still playing very aggressively, keeping the Sabres guessing. The commentators point out that the booing you can hear in the background are the fans, angry with their own home team. I've never heard that before!

And then there's another two-minute penalty against the Ducks, Bret Hedican is penalized for hooking. It's during this man advantage that the Sabres put their second puck into the net. There was maybe two minutes, at most, to tie up the game, but the Sabres couldn't pull it off.

What they did manage, was an injury to Getzlaf (after a 3-man collision) that left blood on the ice and plenty of concerned Duck fans. In a postgame discussion, I heard that the injury was thankfully, nothing more than a bloody nose. I wouldn't want our boys going up against Eastern Conference leaders, the Boston Bruins, without Getzlaf!

Ducks win, for the second game in a row(!), 3-2.


My Zimbio
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